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Obie winner Anne Kauffman will direct the production, which will open at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Harvey Theater on Feb. 23. It’s her second time helming the play following her critically well-received revival at the Goodman Theatre in 2016 in Hansberry’s hometown of Chicago.
The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window first opened on Broadway at the Longacre Theatre on Oct. 15, 1964, before moving to the Henry Miller Theatre. Directed by Peter Kass and with a cast that included Gabriel Dell as Sidney and Rita Moreno as Iris, the play ran for more than 100 performances before closing around Hansberry’s passing.
“We are in dire need of Hansberry’s voice … we know so little of her and define her by one play: A Raisin in the Sun. Without a doubt, Raisin is a masterpiece, but Hansberry’s evolution and contribution to this country’s culture, history and political motion stretches way beyond that astonishing accomplishment. Her work as an artist and activist is varied and deep,” Kauffman said in a statement. “The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window, written four years after A Raisin in the Sun, embraces human complexity and frailty while aggressively shaking us free of our delusions, yet very few people know of it. Now they’ll know.”
The play was Hansberry’s second and last staged production before her passing in 1965 at the age of 34 due to pancreatic cancer and explores race, gender equity, sexuality, art, political corruption, idealism and Bohemian culture. The story centers on Sidney and Iris Brustein, who share between them a crackling wit, passion and petty cruelty as they navigate their evolving marriage as struggling artists who become entwined with a local political campaign that threatens their relationship and friendships in 1960s Greenwich Village.
“I’m thrilled that BAM will present this overshadowed work from one of America’s greatest playwrights,” BAM president Gina Duncan said. “Hansberry died far too young but left us with a cherished few incredible works that are just as relevant now as they were when they were first written.”
Isaac, who has recently appeared in Marvel’s Moon Knight and the HBO drama Scenes From a Marriage, will portray Sidney, (an unsuccessful) writer in the local bohemian movement running a community paper with a distaste for mixing politics and art. Emmy-winning Marvelous Mrs. Maisel star Brosnahan will play Iris, a struggling actress who grows tired of her husband’s dismissive and at times antagonistic stances on her career and must decide whether to leave him.
“During the five years I spent working to produce the first Broadway revival of A Raisin in the Sun (in 2004), I fell in love with The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window,” David Binder, BAM Artistic Director, said. “I shared this passion for Lorraine’s play with Anne and the two of us spent many, many years working together to mount the show in New York. It’s an honor to present Lorraine’s beautiful, and rarely seen, play, finally, at BAM.”
Alongside its revival production, BAM plans to produce in-person and online experiences showcasing Hansberry’s artistic legacy. That includes talks and an exhibit in the Harvey Theater lobby overseen by BAM archivist Sharon Lehner.
Previews will begin Feb. 4, with tickets going on sale beginning Oct. 11 for BAM members and Oct. 21 for the general public. The remaining creative team and company will be announced at a later date.
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